Friday, September 20, 2013

Yuletide Baby Surprise - Catherine Mann (HD #2257 - Oct 2013)

Series: Alpha Brotherhood (Book 4), Billionaires and Babies

'Tis the season to be jolly? It isn't for Dr. Rowan Boothe when a princess on the run from the photo-hungry press invades his hotel room. He and Mariama Mandara had their professional clashes in the past, and Rowan has no desire to become involved in her latest predicament--until they discover an abandoned baby. Now he needs Mari's help and soon discovers she's no pampered royal but a desirable woman. Yet how long can their Christmas escape really last?

Loved it.  Catherine Mann is an auto-read for me and once again she's written a great story.  Rowan and Mari are both doctors, in Cape Verde for a medical conference.  The have been medical adversaries for years, with Princess Mari claiming his diagnostic software cuts too many corners to be accurate and Rowan telling her she's too insulated in her lab to know about practical medicine.  When an attempt to escape from pursuing paparazzi sends Mari bursting into his hotel room it also leads to the discovery of an abandoned baby.  Rowan uses his contacts to have the baby left in their care and convinces Mari to help him care for the baby and use her princess status to publicize the search for the baby's family.  Being in constant company with each other two things become obvious.  First, they are incredibly attracted to each other.  Second, there is more to the other one than either had suspected.

Mari is an only child whose parents divorced when she was young.  She spent a lot of time being shuttled back and forth between the two parents.  She is highly intelligent and has always felt socially awkward, making her feel even more out of place as a princess.  She is happiest in her research lab where she feels in control of her life.  When Rowan talks her into helping with the baby she feels out of her depth.  In spite of her intelligence she is not confident in her abilities to relate to other people.  She is surprised by the desire she feels for Rowan but very interested in pursuing it when she discovers that he is just as attracted to her.  Over the course of the book she finds herself sharing things with him she's never told anyone.  She also wants to know more about him and while he shares some things she senses that he's holding back even more.  I loved the way that being temporary parents brought them so close together.  I also loved the way that Rowan's attention to her and her feelings opened her eyes to everything that she had been hiding from in her life.  She had a wonderful conversation with her mother at the end of the book that really opened her eyes.

Like the others in the Alpha Brotherhood, Rowan feels that he has a debt to society that he needs to pay.  He runs a small clinic in West Africa and tries to help as many people as he can.  He's had a contentious relationship with Mari for many years thanks to their differing views.  But those views have not stopped his fascination with her.  The combination of her arrival in his room and the appearance of an abandoned baby gives him just the excuse he needs to get to know her better.  By convincing her to help him care for the baby he gets her to share his suite at the hotel putting them in constant contact with each other.  He quickly discovers that she's not the spoiled princess he had thought she was.  He sees a beautiful and caring woman who can't see what she has to offer the world.  The attraction he feels starts to deepen, but he has spent a long time keeping his heart closed off.  The guilty feelings he has over the event that sent him to the reform school have convinced him that he does not deserve a family of his own.  Add his undercover work with Interpol and he has a lot he feels he has to keep secret.  I like the way that he that he opens up to her with a little bit of his past but he makes the mistake of keeping too much back.  This made Mari feel that he did not care for her as much as she deserved.  I loved the phone conversation that he had with Elliot at the end of the book and the boot in the butt that he needed.  The conclusion of the book was great with Marin and Rowan finally getting what they needed.

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